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The music industry association claimed a major victory against file-sharing when Swedish police shut down ThePirateBay, a BitTorrent tracker accused of facilitating piracy.

Both IFPI, the music and video industry association, and ThePirateBay itself say the Swedish site is the biggest torrent trackers in the world. Rather than hosting content files itself, torrent trackers host lists of files available for sharing at different locations.

Fifty police officers raided 10 different locations in Sweden, according to IFPI.

Rickard Falkvinge, who heads a newly-formed Swedish political party campaigning on copyright law issues, told WiredFire that the action reflected ‘corruption’.

The music industry’s collaboration with law enforcement authorities to find and prosecute alleged file-sharers is nothing new of course, and civil action is frequently taken by the labels themselves.

However Falkvinge says file-sharing is not actually illegal under Swedish law. “X causing Y to lose money doesn’t automatically make X a criminal, in Sweden. You have to actually break a law,” he said. Falkbinge also said the site would be up and running again in the next one or two days.

IFPI said the site had “consistently defied legal warnings by copyright holders over recent months, its Swedish operators making no secret of their contempt for copyright laws”.

ThePirateBay took delight in republishing any legal threats it received from copyright owners, complete with satirical responses. “Dear Sir(s), Madam(s), and/or Slimemold(s),” began one such response still available on the Google cache (via Slashdot).

IFPI also noted the site was run as a commercial operation, with banner advertising. No arrests were made but three people were held for questioning and later released. ThePirateBay’s legal advisor, in his blog, said he had been questioned and had a DNA sample taken.

Torrent internet traffic is claimed to account for as much as a third of all internet traffic, and a graph of internet traffic in Sweden suggests a short but dramatic dip on Wednesday, when the servers were taken down, followed by a return to about five-sixths of previous traffic levels.

Google goes for graphical advertisements

Google held a conference call about its strategy on Wednesday that revealed plans to move more into online “display” or graphical advertisements, in contrast to its current, mostly text-based ads. It’s already signalled some graphical advertisements as part of the AOL partnership, and said it would look into more partnerships like this.

It also said its recent foray into print advertising, in which it tried to replicate its AdWords approach by buying whole pages of advertising space in trade and consumer magazines and auctioning off parts of each page, hadn’t been an immediate success. Online Media Daily quoted Jonathan Rosenberg, Google’s senior vice president for product management, as saying it “probably hasn’t taken off as fast as we would like”.

HP goes all web 2.0

Hewlett Packard announced plans to try of the surge in the quantity of digital photos and other material produced by web-users online.

The computer maker is developing tools to allow amateurs to access printing services via the web, enabling those generating the content of websites to publish and reproduce it professionally.

The push to take advantage of user-generated content comes as HP seeks ways to boost sales growth in the imaging and printing group, its most profitable business unit.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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